What Are The Traditional Elements That A Prosecutor Must Prove In A Sex Crime Case?
Criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree is simply a touching for a sexual purpose or sexual gratification. In the second degree, it is a touching for sexual purpose or sexual gratification with one of the defined aggravating factors. In the third degree, it is penetration with force, coercion or one of the other outlawed elements – such as the child being between 13 and 16 years old, the child being related to the perpetrator, or the child being in the household of the perpetrator. CSC 1st degree is penetration with one of the defined aggravated elements, such as: personal injury, the child being under age 13, multiple offenders, or having been committed during the commission of another felony. Abuse of authority status can be an aggravating factor, which means a parent, teacher, or coach of the individual could face a first-degree charge.
For child sexually abusive material, constructive possession is the same legally as actual possession. This means that the person charged might not have anything on their person, but may have saved the material to the cloud or other mobile storage space.
Child sexually abusive activity is what the prosecutor charges when someone is communicating in such a way as to encourage, entice, or even knowingly allow someone under 18 to commit an act of child sexually abusive activity, such as intercourse or masturbation. For example, texting a 16-year-old girl and saying, “Send me a video of you masturbating” would be charged under the child sexually abusive activity statute.
Solicitation of a minor is a relatively straightforward set of elements focused on the idea of someone soliciting or encouraging a child to engage in sex or commit an immoral act, such as an act of depravity or juvenile delinquency.
What Is The Standard Of Proof In A Sex Crime Case In Michigan?
When it comes to the standard of proof in a sex crime case in Michigan, there is what the law says, and there is the practical reality of what happens in court. The law in Michigan, as it is throughout the country for any crime, is the beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof. This means that the prosecutor has to prove guilt beyond any reasonable doubt, which is of course the highest standard in law in this country.
In Scotland, there are three verdicts: guilty, not proven, and innocent. In this country, we don’t have the innocent verdict, we just have guilty or not proven. The not proven verdict is a good way to understand not guilty, because The jury is required to acquit someone, Even if they believe the person is guilty, provided that guilt has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. It certainly is a much higher standard of proof than preponderance (51%/49%), or even clear and convincing evidence.
The problem with sex offenses is that there are such visceral reactions to them; they are fraught with emotion and a sense of revenge and horror. As a result, I have to tell clients that as a practical matter, it is unlikely that the jury will hold the prosecutor to the exacting standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. Instead, it is very uncommon for a jury to acquit someone who they believe is guilty of a sex crime, even if the prosecutor failed to prove their guilt. They want to be able to say to themselves, “I don’t think this person did it,” so in a courtroom, practically speaking, the burden is different. The client should be prepared to demonstrate that they did not commit the offense.
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